Most smokers want to quit smoking and often promise to do so at the start of a new year.

However, come the 1st of January, many smokers will return to their daily smoking. Within a few hours of not smoking, withdrawal and cravings kick in, and is often what leads smokers to relapse. Pair this experience with a range of habitual and emotional triggers throughout the day, and the smoker will reach out for a cigarette. Before they know it, they’re back to their daily smoking…

If this is you, it’s never too late to have another go. As the daily routine for most people has now settled (and the holidays seem like a distant memory), it provides the perfect opportunity to try again.

Ready to have another go? These 5 steps can help

1. Understand your smoking behaviour

Think about when you smoke. What time is it? What are you doing and whom are you with? Are you with other smoking friends? Do you smoke when you drink or socialise? Do you smoke when you’re bored, or stressed or angry?

Take a closer look at your triggers and start thinking about what else you could do instead of smoking during those times.

If you smoke to cope with your emotions, think about how you will manage your emotions other than smoking…

2. Make the decision to quit and plan ahead

Set a quit date and think about your reasons for quitting. Write them down to help you stay on track. Think about the health gains and what you could spend your money on.

Plan ahead by putting some strategies in place. What will you do instead of smoking? How will you cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms? As an alternative to smoking, what will you do to help you cope with stress? To help you relax? How will you cope when you’re socialising with friends?

Stuck for ideas and strategies? Look at one of our previous posts to give you some ideas.

3. Use the quitting medications to help you

Think about how you will quit. Will you stop cold turkey? Will you cut down slowly? Either way, set a quit date and follow your plan.

Remember, that nicotine is a powerful drug; it drives the addiction and is the primary reason why most people cannot quit. So use the quitting medications to help you. They can more than double to triple your chance of stopping successfully.

Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum, inhalator, lozenge and mouth spray) are available over the counter at your local pharmacy, as well as some supermarkets and petrol stations. Or speak to your doctor about the prescribed medications such as Bupropion (commonly known as Zyban) and Varenicline (commonly known as Champix).

The nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are also available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and with a doctor’s prescription, can be purchased a reduced cost.

The most effective way to stop smoking is with the information and support from a health professional, in combination with the quitting medications. If you want some extra information about the quitting medications, take a look at our blog post.

4. Returned to smoking? Don’t give up!

Tried once, twice, ten, fifteen times? Keep trying and don’t give up. Most smokers make a number of attempts before they finally succeed.

Rather than thinking that you have failed, learn from your previous experience and start again. Think about what triggered you to return to smoking. Was it stress? Was it a social situation? Was it your afternoon ritual of having a cigarette with your coffee? If yes, then what could you do differently next time? Give it a go and if it doesn’t work, then try something new.

Keep looking towards the future and focus on what you will gain. Be positive that you “can make it” without a cigarette. Remember, each quitting attempt you make, brings you closer to your smokefree goal. Read our post on relapse for further information…

5. Seek support

Quitting smoking is difficult, but it’s also achievable with the right information, planning and support. Speak to your doctor, pharmacist or health professional.

Call the Quitline on 137 848 and speak to a Quitline advisor for the cost of a local call. The Quitline advisors are trained counsellors, are non-judgemental and can discuss the best options for you. You can remain anonymous if you wish.

We hope this information helps and you think about having another go. It’s never too late to quit, so why not start today?

Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing, and of course a smokefree 2021!

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